You may be one of the thousands of ministry leaders who have recently celebrated the success of your annual VBS program! Many of you saw renewed enthusiasm among your staff, were blessed by the service of both new and faithful volunteers, and saw children respond to the gospel and their need for Jesus.
Hopefully your VBS plan included methods of following up with your participants, new families you reached and kids who have come to faith in Jesus.
In an ideal ministry world, hosting VBS (or conducting ANY sort of ministry) is part of a larger campaign where you make positive stepping stones to integrate people back into the life of your church.
Have you ever missed an on-ramp and had to drive 40 miles to finally get on? Don’t make that mistake in your church. Create many on-ramps for people to get connected back with your church. A few ideas include:
- The start up of youth and/or adult programming at your church
- A large community outreach effort
- A fall celebration
- Family movie night
- Holiday fundraising or supply drive
Many of these things you may already be doing. Now you just need to tie together the series of opportunities for people to connect with you and your church. Don’t consider your VBS program – or any other ministry effort – as a stand-alone event.
Don’t Give Up!
Look at an 18-month calendar of the life of your church. Identify as many “on-ramp” experiences as possible. Then consider how you can continue engaging or reaching out to VBS participants to invite them into the regular rythyms of your church. Be consistent in reconnecting. Don’t give up!
Way too many churches use VBS as their singular and stand-alone event to invite people into their church. They do it once a year and are surprised at the low results and wonder if they should keep doing VBS. The real question is should you keep doing ministry the way you are doing it.
It’s Not Too Late
While it’s probably too early to start picking themes and recruiting volunteers for VBS 2018, it’s not too early to start praying and planning for this aspect of your ministry. Use this post-VBS season to record notes on what worked well and what you want to improve for next year. Most importantly, start listing out ways that you can fully integrate the efforts of your VBS programming into the overall life of your church.